So. Yeah. Things started off well enough in Newark this evening. The Lightning got off to a stronger start, looked a lot less sluggish, and were putting pucks on net. Unfortunately, a number of the same issues that have reared their heads over the last few games came with them too. Unable to sustain pressure in the offensive zone and turnovers played a big part on the 4-2 loss to the New Jersey.
Oh and those funny penalty calls in the third period, but we’ll get there soon enough.
Credit where it’s due. Anders Lindback kept this game as close as it was for most of regulation. Adam Henrique’s goal came off a rebound that fell behind the netminder so he didn’t see the puck. Kovalchuk’s short handed goal came when Lindback was defenseless. Then of course there were the goals that came on the extended 5-on-3 advantage for NJ. Without his efforts the score would have been even more lopsided.
Nate Thompson and Matt Carle can enjoy the fact that they scored on one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. Ok, good stuff out of the way.
Some of the most disappointing things about this road trip so far is the disparity in play compared to the home games. At home the Bolts were much more physical. So far on the road the opposition has been allowed to enter Tampa’s defensive zone almost without being touched. Tampa had only 19 shots on goal, often going long stretches without putting the puck on net.
Then there’s untimely penalties. Sure, the high sticking call on Adam Hall was fuzzy. He was in mid follow through when his stick hit Travis Zajac. Zajac also slewfooted Hall after being hit. Sure, that sucked. Especially since Marty St. Louis was already in the box for tripping. Coach Guy Boucher had some words for the officials in the wake of the call against Hall. The zebras tacked on a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct to extend the 5-on-3. That’s what killed the game right there. We can argue the call against Adam, but the bench minor wasn’t necessary. Especially when the Devils had been assessed one earlier in the game.
Games are going to be lost. If they’re going to get the kinks worked out, doing so early may be the best bet. The Jekyll & Hyde stuff has to stop. Being on the road and having to deal with adversity may be just what the Lightning need. Band together, fight back, and put the puck on net.